St. Francis Prep hockey head coach Giancarlo Racinelli didn’t know what else to tell his struggling team in the game against Xaverian High School on Friday.
Trailing the Clippers 3-2 with about five minutes left in the game, Racinelli had exhausted his breath, preaching to his team that they weren’t playing their usually formations correctly and needed to find a way to wake up their offense and stabilize the defense.
But realizing that his team wasn’t listening, he decided to try a new strategy: say nothing at all.
“Things began flying off the hinges a bit and we weren’t playing our systems, so the coaches stepped back,” Racinelli said.
With a quiet coach, the Terriers (CHSAA, 3-1) quickly realized they were in trouble of losing to a team that hasn’t won a game for the season yet. They talked among themselves about their errors, and in the last five minutes of the game they scored two consecutive goals to escape Xaverian (0-4) with a score of 4-3.
“Our coaches didn’t say anything, that got us thinking even more like ‘Oh God,’” said forward Tyler Murphy. “You kind of looking to the guys and are thinking they are going to say something, but when they aren’t saying anything then they must be mad, so now we had to do something to fix it.”
The equalising goal came in at 4:52, when Murphy traveled the length of the ice, beating defenders and faked out the goalkeeper before slapping the puck in.
Murphy had taken many shots throughout the game, but his first goal of the night got the Terriers back into the game.
“They [Xaverian] were on the other bench and they were kind of chirping a little bit,” Murphy said. “That kind of got us a little mad, a little pissed off, and made us really want to win the game.”
Three minutes later sophomore Jack Mastronardi, with 2:02 left in the game, blasted a shot into the goal from a few feet away to give the Terriers the lead. St. Francis held the lead in the final two minutes for the win.
“We came out a little weak, but towards the second and third period we started to pick the game up a little bit; we got more energy,” senior captain Theodore Gallucci said. “If we start doing that in more games we’ll hopefully do better.”
The next game for the Terriers will be on Friday, January 3 versus St. Edmund High School.